The details that have come out since the NFL announced a three-game suspension for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston are a bit odd.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said three games was a negotiated settlement between the league and Winston. Winston didn’t have to admit guilt from an incident in which he was accused of groping an Uber driver. He did apologize for … something. He blamed alcohol. The NFL was good with that and gave him just three games, presumably to avoid an appeal or legal battle. Winston didn’t fight the suspension.
It wasn’t the toughest stance for the league to take, but the NFL and inconsistent punishment are intertwined at this point, especially since it said it would get tough on domestic violence. But it promises that if Winston does anything else, then it will get very tough.
Would Winston be banned for another incident?
As part of the NFL’s statement on the matter, it included that Winston could be banned for any further violations.
“A failure either to obtain the evaluation or to cooperate with treatment will result in further discipline,” the league said in its statement, according to NFL.com. “In addition, a future violation of the personal conduct policy will result in more substantial discipline, including a potential ban from the NFL.”
The three-game suspension, while making the NFL look like it cares more about contrition and avoiding conflict than the violation itself, should be a message to Winston.
Winston doesn’t deserve a benefit of the doubt anymore
As Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson predicted, we’re already seeing Winston’s camp start to do some image repair. There’s talk about how this time he has already changed. We’ve heard it all before, and this time it feels empty.
Winston doesn’t deserve much benefit of the doubt, and the Buccaneers have no reason to trust him anymore. The Buccaneers, or whoever Winston’s next team is if he doesn’t get a contract extension (based on the Bucs’ statement that went easy on Winston, Tampa will probably pay him), will just have to worry about something else happening and hope it doesn’t.
And if something else happens, we’ll see how serious the NFL is about a major punishment. Maybe it’ll negotiate another settlement. Whether or not the NFL would follow through with its threats, a message has been sent: Patience with Winston has run out.
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• Eric Adelson: Bucs shouldn’t hand back Jameis Winston his starting job
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